Putin hopes to fix ties with US, pool anti-ter­ror ef­forts

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

MOSCOW (AP): N A con­cil­ia­tory state-ofthe-na­tion ad­dress, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin yes­ter­day voiced hope for mend­ing a rift with the US and pool­ing ef­forts in fight­ing ter­ror­ism.

The speech re­flected Moscow’s hope that Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump could help re­pair ties with Wash­ing­ton that have sunk to a post-Cold War low over the cri­sis in Ukraine, the Syria war and other dis­putes.

Putin em­pha­sised that friendly re­la­tions be­tween the two su­per­pow­ers are es­sen­tial for global sta­bil­ity.

“Rus­sia-US co­op­er­a­tion in solv­ing global and re­gional prob­lems an­swers the in­ter­ests of the en­tire world,” he said. “We share re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­sur­ing global se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity and strength­en­ing the non-pro­lif­er­a­tion regime.”

Putin’s live ad­dress con­trasted with some of his re­cent speeches, in which he launched scathing at­tacks on the US and its al­lies.

Ten­sions es­ca­lated dur­ing the US elec­tion cam­paign, when Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­cused

IRus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin. Moscow of hack­ing Amer­i­can po­lit­i­cal sites and email ac­counts in an ef­fort to in­ter­fere with the vote. The Krem­lin has re­jected the ac­cu­sa­tions.

Putin noted in his speech that Rus­sia has faced “at­tempts of for­eign pres­sure with all tools in­volved — from the myths about Rus­sian ag­gres­sion, (al­le­ga­tions) of med­dling in elec­tions to the hound­ing of our ath­letes,” a ref­er­ence to dop­ing scan­dals.

But he also em­pha­sised that Rus­sia bears no grudge against the West and is open for a “friendly and equal” di­a­logue on global is­sues.

“We don’t want con­fronta­tion with any­one,” he told an au­di­ence of se­nior of­fi­cials and law­mak­ers in an or­nate, whitemar­ble Krem­lin hall.

“Un­like our for­eign col­leagues who are see­ing Rus­sia as an en­emy, we have never been look­ing for en­e­mies. We need friends,” Putin said. “But we won’t al­low any in­fringe­ment on our in­ter­ests and ne­glect of them.”

He said that Rus­sia is “ready for co­op­er­a­tion with the new Amer­i­can ad­min­is­tra­tion,” and hopes to pool ef­forts with the US in com­bat­ing in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism.

“Our ser­vice­men in Syria are ful­fill­ing that task,” Putin added.

Rus­sia has con­ducted an air cam­paign in sup­port of Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar As­sad, help­ing his forces make sig­nif­i­cant gains, most re­cently in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city be­fore the war.

In a phone call on Novem­ber 16, Trump told Putin that he looks for­ward to “a strong and en­dur­ing re­la­tion­ship with Rus­sia and the peo­ple of Rus­sia,” ac­cord­ing to his tran­si­tion team.

Putin said that Rus­sia is open to a “friendly and equal di­a­logue” about global se­cu­rity. He pointed to the Euro­pean mi­gra­tion cri­sis as an ex­am­ple of even “seem­ingly pros­per­ous coun­tries and sta­ble re­gions” fac­ing new di­vi­sions.

He men­tioned an in­ten­tion to de­velop stronger ties with China and In­dia, adding that it is dic­tated by long-term in­ter­ests rather than a strain on Rus­sia’s ties with the US and the Euro­pean Union.

NO GRUDGE

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